The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) estimated that more than 32 percent of people who go for treatment at a hospital would experience a hospital-related injury. This can be the result of negligence on the part of the doctor, staff, hospital and more. These injuries can range from mild to serious or even cause death. They may even cause a patient to require additional treatment, a lengthened stay at the hospital. In some cases, these injuries have made it necessary for patients in Florida to be readmitted to a hospital after discharge. Victims of hospital-related injuries can sue for negligence and receive compensation for their wounds.
No Damages No Case
It’s important to realize that medical malpractice isn’t about unsatisfactory results. It is about the negligent conduct of medical professionals. Not all people who don’t get their desired arise from treatment will have a valid lawsuit. A study was carried out by the Harvard School of Public Health. It found that most victims of medical malpractice are denied compensation because of a lack of evidence when it comes to proving the negligence of doctors as well as hospitals. It’s important for a potential victim to contact an attorney that is knowledgeable and experienced with medical malpractice. Legal professionals will be able to let a person know if they have a valid claim.
The type of negligence a patient can experience at a hospital can result from some common medical errors.
- Identification errors. This can occur when a patient is misidentified for treatment. This can lead to a patient receiving the wrong procedure, getting the wrong medication and more.
- Errors in communication. This can result in a change of treatment or medication n that has not been adequately communicated to hospital staff. This has caused patients to experience serious injuries. This often happens when essential information concerning patients is not shared during hospital shift changes.
- Location errors. This often occurs with patients who have dementia or memory loss. These are patients who need to be carefully monitored. Injuries occur when these individuals are left unattended.
- Hospital infections. This includes everything from a urinary tract infection to an arterial line infection as well as Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) and more. An infection at the spot on a patient’s body where a surgical procedure occurred can cause serious problems. These can be avoided in most cases.
- A lack of staff. This often leads to hospital injuries. A hospital may not be able to provide an adequate number of competent medical professionals to treat their patients properly. This could cause a delay in emergency response time as well as scheduled treatments and some other problems.
Hospital Employee Actions
All hospitals are responsible for the actions of their employees. This is particularly the case if an employee’s actions cause harm to a patient. Should a hospital employee not be reasonably cautious when administering treatment or any other type of activity involving a patient, the hospital is liable. Not everything that results in a patient being injured will be the result of negligence, though.
Should a doctor make a mistake that results in a patient being injured, the hospital may not be held liable. This will depend on the healthcare specialist being a direct employee of the hospital. Should an employee do something that harms a patient as a result of a physician’s supervision, the doctor may be held liable, but not the hospital. This will also depend on the employment status of the medical expert and the hospital. Whether a hospital employee’s actions are a result of a physician’s direct orders, supervision will be taken into consideration.
A claim of hospital negligence will begin with an inquiry. The medical practitioner, hospital staff and others involved with providing care may be contacted. All relevant documents including medical records will be obtained. The medicals records and documents will be carefully reviewed. All appropriate medical literature from the National Library of Medicine that applies to a case will also be reviewed. This investigation will determine if someone was negligent in providing medical care. It will also show if a patient’s injury was a direct result of the negligent medical care.
Based on a review of all documents and medical literature, it will be determined if a case can be successfully prosecuted. If a case is questionable, a medical expert will be consulted. Once it has been determined a case has merit, a lawsuit will be filed on behalf of an injured patient.
The next phase is pretrial discovery. There is written discovery where each party to the lawsuit sends each other questions in the form of interrogatories. They will ask for documents that are essential to the case. Depositions are legal records of issues and answers that can be used for trial. Those involved with the lawsuit, witnesses as well as expert witnesses will be given depositions.
Negotiations And Settlement
Going to trial is time consuming and expensive. The majority of medical malpractice cases are settled out of court. When a case does go to trial, the majority of the verdicts are for the defense. An insurance company may be willing to settle a case they do not believe they can win. The serious negotiations concerning a settlement in most medical malpractice cases happen after expert witnesses gave a deposition. It is also possible for settlement negotiations to continue during a trial.
If the negotiations don’t lead to a settlement of the case, the next step is going to trial. Many hours will be invested in preparing questions for witnesses. There will be exhibits developed as well as visual aids. Opening and closing arguments will be written. There could be focus groups utilized to see how individuals react when presented with what will be shown during the trial. An attorney is not able to guarantee what decision will be rendered during a jury trial. With the right preparation and careful presentation of evidence, the chances of a good settlement or a positive trial decision increase. Our experts at Law Offices of Vastola & Associates. know this detailed process and can assist you with all the requirements.